Veteran stars Heather Knight and Katherine Brunt powered England to victory in the ODI series opener against New Zealand.
Sent out to bat, England were bowled out for 241 in the 50th over, with captain Knight (89) leading the way alongside Tammy Beaumont (44) and Brunt (43).
That proved 30 runs too many for New Zealand, as Brunt (1/22) and the England attack squeezed them out of the game, eventually bowling them out for 211 in the 47th over.
England were put in to bat first by New Zealand and got off to a good start. Openers Lauren Winfield-Hill and Beaumont pounced on the bad balls and kept the scoreboard ticking. They were going strong at 44 in the ninth over when Hannah Rowe (1/47) struck, removing Winfield-Hill on 21 via a faint nick through to the keeper.
Her wicket did little to slow down the scoring as captain Knight joined Beaumont at the crease. The duo forged a strong partnership and soon took England past the 100-run mark in the 22nd over.
Just as it looked like England were going to reach fifth gear, Sophie Devine (2/57) provided New Zealand with the second breakthrough, ending the half-century stand. Beaumont fell just six runs short of a fifty, struck in front of the middle stump.
Two overs later, Natalie Sciver (2) fell to the returning Lea Tahuhu (2/32). She also picked up the wicket of Amy Jones (2) in the 30th over and Jess Kerr (3/42) got Sophia Dunkley (5) in the 32nd over to reduce England to 140/5.
Despite the regular fall of wickets, Knight continued to take on the New Zealand bowlers. She paired with Brunt to push England past 220. The 88-run stand was broken by Leigh Kasperek (1/48) in the 47th over when she caught and bowled Knight for 89.
The remaining four England wickets fell for 13 runs as the hosts were bowled out for 241.
A brilliant 89 from England captain Heather Knight has helped them post 241.— ICC (@ICC) September 16, 2021
Jess Kerr picked up three wickets for New Zealand.
Can the visitors chase this down?#ENGvNZ | https://t.co/RQe3WSrIfC pic.twitter.com/B4WMMGJ4ft
New Zealand were in trouble early in the chase as Sciver (2/10) accounted for Suzie Bates (1) and Lauren Down (5) inside the opening 10 overs. Sciver, miserly herself, was the beneficiary of Brunt's pinpoint accuracy. The senior member bowled four consecutive maidens in her opening spell.
The pressure continued to take its toll as Kate Cross (2/37) had Maddy Green (19) caught at slip in the 13th over to reduce New Zealand to 31/3. The senior duo of Amy Satterthwaite (79*) and captain Sophie Devine (34) rebuilt the innings in a 78-run stand but just as they were getting back into the game, Cross struck again, removing the Kiwi skipper for 34 in the 29th over.
England break New Zealand's stubborn 78-run 4th wicket partnership.— ICC (@ICC) September 16, 2021
Sophie Devine (34) is caught off a Kate Cross delivery, leaving the visitors 115/4 after 30 overs. #ENGvNZ | https://t.co/RQe3WSa7o4 pic.twitter.com/Nz2kjX6ur4
Wickets fell at regular intervals from there as New Zealand slipped to 143/8, with Sophie Ecclestone (2/39) on a hat-trick at one point after removing Katey Martin (9) and Brooke Halliday (0).
A quickfire 25 off 14 from Tahuhu in a 34-run stand with Satterthwaite briefly ignited hopes of a comeback, but her fall to Freya Davies (1/40) in the 41st over left England within touching distance of victory. Kasperek (15) managed to keep things interesting going into the final four overs only to be run out by a direct hit from Winfield-Hill to end the match, leaving Sattherthwaite stranded on 79.
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